iPad Air 2 vs. iPad Air: What's the difference?

- Technology - Oct 20, 2014

Apple unveiled its latest cutting edge tablet and the first evolution of its iPad Air last week, bringing with it Touch ID technology.

In what seems like no time at all since the iPad Air hit the technology world, the iPad Air 2 brings with it yet more advances which firmly cements Apple at the highest end of luxury tablet.

But how different is this newest version? In short, there are two key changes which will be differentiating the iPad Air 2 from its predecessor.

The first is purely from a visual perspective, in that the iPad Air 2 is available in gold just like the iPhone, with Apple not hiding the fact it has been an extremely popular option amongst consumers.

Alongside the gold finish the newer model is also, somewhat remarkably, thinner than the iPad Air by 18 percent. Whether this in fact turns out to be a positive step is to be seen, an intriguing thought given the recent ‘bendgate’ episode with the new iPhone 6.

The iPad Air 2 is 6.1mm thick, thinner than the newest conventional tablet, the newly-released iPad Mini 3, by 1.4mm thanks to a newly designed Retina display which Apple claims will deliver brighter, richer colours with a better contrast. The iPad Air, like the Mini 3, is 7.5mm thick. The other dimensions remain the same (240mm x 169.5mm).

The new Air 2 is also lighter, weighing in at 437 grams compared with 469 grams for the original iPad Air.

However, the major headline is the advent of Touch ID. Not only will users be able to unlock their iPad Air 2s via their fingerprint, they will also be able to unlock apps and even do their shopping with online retailers that are equipped with Apple Pay. Touch ID is also available in the iPad Mini 3.

Other features and upgrades to the iPad Air 2 include:

  1. An anti-reflective coating which could reduce reflections by more than 50 percent.
  2. Faster touch tracking systems with more responsive swiping.
  3. An A8X chip which speeds up performance by 40 percent compared to the previous generation A7 chip models. This is great news for gamers and Apple claims it will not reduce the 10 hour battery life seen in the original iPad Air.
  4. Improved FaceTime camera, now in HD and 81 percent more light than the original iPad Air.
  5. Improved WiFi connectivity thanks to 802.11ac technology.

Prices range from £399 to £659 depending on memory size (16-128GB) and cellular connectivity. The cheapest iPad Air is still on sale for £319. 

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